Delaware enlists assistants to help get out the word on Obamacare
Some extra help is on the way in Delaware to connect people with health insurance and explain the Obamacare health law changes.
The state's new health information portal ChooseHealthDE.com goes live Thursday.
Bettina Riveros, Gov. Jack Markell's health policy adviser, said consumers won't shop for insurance on the site but its overall purpose is to reinforce the importance of health. "To make sure you are engaged in your health, choosing health," she said.
To get the word out the Affordable Care Act, Delaware has also selected four organizations that will train and deploy 60 insurance-marketplace guides across the state.
The four organizations are Brandywine Womens Health Associates, the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, Westside Family Healthcare and Christiana Care Health System.
The Delmarva Foundation will focus much of its outreach on small businesses.
The Obamacare rules can be a complicated message to convey, but Delmarva's vice president of business development, Sue Myers, said her guides will be competent and well informed.
"One, we need to do a background check," she said. "There's an online training, followed by a proctored exam. So, I think Delaware and CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] have done a good job at really assuring the public that folks are going to be qualified."
The Delmarva Foundation, which helps hospitals and other health providers deliver better care, may be best known for its data-crunching expertise. Now the company will work directly with health consumers.
"Part of our role, in our contract, is to encourage people to seek care -- and prevention and wellness. It's an exciting opportunity to connect more with people, than data," Myers said.
Delaware selected the four new guide groups. These on-the-ground helpers are different from the health-care navigators who will be selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The announcement on the navigators -- for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware -- is due in mid-August.
Health insurance marketplaces are one-stop, online shopping portals for consumers and small businesses. A marketplace is being set up in every state.
About 90,000 Delawareans are uninsured, and experts say as many as 35,000 people will buy coverage through the First State's marketplace. Open enrollment begins Oct. 1.
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